By Eldon MacDonald
45. Ryan Sproul - “Mr. Big Shot” - D - Canada
Vitals: Size - 6’4”, 185 lb.; Shoots right; Born: 13-Jan-93
Team: Sault St. Marie, OHL
2010-11 Stats: 61-14-19-33-36-(-15)
28 - Christopher Ralph's Top 210
44 - The Scouting Report's Top 100 Skaters
45 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
47 - hfboards Readers’ Poll
48 - Bob MacKenzie's June Poll of Scouts
48 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
60 - ISS per TSN
68 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Ranking (54th North American skater)
82 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
55 - Detroit Red Wings
- Late growth spurt - When Ryan Sproul was drafted by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2009, he was about 6’0 and 185 lb. Today he is 6’4 and still 185 lb. In fact, his body has so physically immature the year he was drafted that that he stayed another year in midget and didn’t join the Greyhounds till this fall.
- More playing time - There was no mention of Ryan Sproul earlier in the year as he was buried on the Greyhounds blueline behind some more experienced players who were pretty good in their own right. Then, Brandon Archibald got traded to Saginaw and Brock Beukeboom had a season ending injury.
- Power play time - The biggest factor though in Ryan’s success was that he became the go-to shooter on the power play. In fact, his success rate in scoring goals in the latter half of the season was about the same as the two more famous OHL defensemen named Ryan (Ryan Ellis and Ryan Murphy).
- His shot is way above average and his 14 goals (most of which were scored in the second half of the season) are proof of its effectiveness.
- His one-timer is almost Subbanesque in its power and accuracy and comes without much of a wind-up.
- He size is very appealing. With his late growth spurt, his frame is still very under-developed but he has the space to put on the weight necessary to compete successfully in the bigs. He may top out at 6’5 - 210-220.
- His skating is another major asset although he doesn’t have the puck handling skills to maximize its effect on his game.
- His defense improved significantly over the course of the season. However, it is still not satisfactory and there are a few questions over his hockey sense. However, teams are more likely to cut a draftee some slack in this area if they are steadily improving like Ryan.